Ancient grains, 208pp.
by Catherine Saxelby
Arbon Publishing, Crows Nest NSW, 2013
Cooking on page 132–33
I love using grains in cooking, so this book was a natural choice for me. While the cover of the book identifies only one author, four Australian women contributed to the contents of this book.
Catherine Saxelby, a well-known Australian nutritionist and author of 10 books, wrote the introduction and grain information, and reviewed the recipes. All other content, including the recipes, was provided by Chrissy Freer, Anna Phillips and Tracy Rutherford. All three have long histories in various aspects of the food industry.
Page 32 discusses barley, one of the world’s oldest grains and the grain that featured in one of the very first recipes I shared on this blog—Swiss barley soup.
But there was no recipe, so I had to move on to pages 132–33.
Brown rice and lentils, dried cranberries and roasted carrots
1 cup (6 1/2 oz/185 g) brown rice
16 (about 14 oz/400 g) baby carrots, scrubbed and trimmed (halved if large)
14 oz/400 g can brown lentils, rinsed and drained
2 sticks celery, diced
1/3 cup (1 1/2 oz/45 g) sweetened dried cranberries
1/4 cup (1 1/2 oz/45 g) natural almonds, chopped
2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon gluten-free, salt-reduced tamari
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons honey
freshly ground black pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Cook the brown rice in a large saucepan of boiling water according to the packet directions or until it is al dente. Drain the rice well.
Meanwhile, line a large baking tray with kitchen baking paper. Place the carrots on the prepared baking tray, and spray them with olive oil. Roast the carrots for 25–30 minutes or until they are golden and tender.
Place the brown rice, carrots, lentils, celery, cranberries, almonds and parsley in a large bowl. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, tamari, olive oil and honey. Add the lemon juice mixture to the rice mixture, and toss to combine the ingredients. Season with freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Serves 4. Vegan option: omit honey.
How it played out
Except for baby carrots, I usually have these ingredients on hand. So I popped out to the Fyshwick Markets for the Sunday afternoon blitz. That’s when prices hit rock bottom because the market closes Monday to Wednesday.
I was able to grab two bunches of baby carrots for $1 each (usually costing up to $3.99 a bunch), which allowed me to make this recipe, which I’d been ‘sitting on’ for a while.
The two bunches had 24 smaller pieces that weighed in at just over 400 grams, so I used a slightly shorter roasting time. I followed all the salad ingredients and thought it was interesting that the 1/3 cup of cranberries and the 1/4 cup of almonds weighed the same. Once I looked at the volume of salad ingredients, I decided to double the dressing mix.
Nice side dish with interesting textures and complimentary flavours. Poor John is especially keen on brown rice and dried cranberries, and I love almonds and lentils, so we both got a hit of favourites. The overall taste was a tiny bit bland, so I was very, very glad that I doubled the dressing. It could even cope nicely with tripling of dressing (but without any extra honey, in my opinion).
I’ll make this again, but think the carrots came across as an after-thought. The dish would be equally nice with or without them, or with a different vegetable.
If you like things from the past, check out a fascinating ancient place we visited in India.